Colleen Harmeling on morality and donation giving
In the latest talk of our Research Seminar Series, Colleen Harmeling, Associate Professor of Marketing at Florida State University, presented her research on morality and donation giving.
We all hold moral values shaped by our environment and guiding our attitudes and judgments. In the presented research project, Colleen Harmeling and her co-authors examine what happens when charitable organizations make corporate decisions that conflict with these values.
The researchers use analyses of large data sets from a charitable organization to examine how moral misalignments between donation givers and the organization affect donation giving. The results of a first study reveal that decisions of charitable organizations that contradict the moral values of donation givers result in donation defection. However, communication strategies emphasizing the beneficiary of donations—rather than emphasizing the organization itself—can attenuate this negative effect. In a second study, they confirm this finding in an analysis of organization-stakeholder conversations by showing that donation givers are less like to defect donations if the conversations revolve around the beneficiaries. This evidence offers important insights for charitable and nonprofit organizations about the potentially negative consequences of misalignments between their actions and the moral values of their stakeholders, as well as how to mitigate these consequences though appropriate communication strategies.